Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Ministry Partnership Opportunity

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Hispanic church planter Miguel Estrada. Miguel lives in the North Troy community near our church building and is starting a new Hispanic congregation. He is in need of meeting space for his new church plant and called me to see if it might be possible for them to use our church building for this purpose.

I must admit that this an answer to prayer. We have been praying since we started our own new work in Troy that God would send someone who would be effective in reaching the growing Hispanic population that calls this neighborhood home. I am not Hispanic and do not speak Spanish. For me to try an reach these Hispanic people, in their own cultural context, would be a great challenge to say the least. Two years later and God has answered our prayer.

This new ministry partnership has not come without challenges of its own. Miguel is working with a denomination that differs a bit in doctrine than we do. They are Pentacostal, we are not. We had to ask some hard questions of each other in order to come to a agreement that works for everyone involved. After meeting and praying with Miguel, his wife, and the pastor of their sponsoring, we were satisfied with Miguel's vision and passion for reaching his own Hispanic people with the Gospel. We came to the mutual decision that we can work together and around our doctrinal differences for the common purpose of making Christ known in the heart of the city of Troy, NY.

As I think about what it will take to reach my city for the kingdom of God I had to ask myself if doctrinal differences will get in the way. If we agree on the major issues we can work around the smaller issues. Miguel will be much more effective in reaching his own people than I will ever be. Miguel has shared with me that the majority of Latinos are either Roman Catholic or Pentacostal. While I may not agree with some of their doctrinal positions or their style of worship, I do agree that there are lost Hispanic people who need to know that Jesus loves them and died for their sins. With that said, we will move forward in the bond of the Holy Spirit. When all is said and done, the only thing we will be able to say is, "My, look what the Lord has accomplished.
Please pray for us as we begin this new realtionship. We will be sharing our church building with Miguel and his congregation. We are anticipating a great harvest.